Sen. Grassley Knocks Psychiatrist’s Funding from AstraZeneca


by Sarah Rubenstein

A University of Cincinnati psychiatrist who was the lead author of a 2002 study that concluded kids did well on AstraZeneca’s antipsychotic Seroquel has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company since then, according to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

Grassley (pictured) raised the issue in a floor statement last week in support of a bill he’s co-sponsoring that would require drug and device makers with annual revenues of more than $100 million to disclose to the federal government on a quarterly basis anything of value given to physicians, such as payments, gifts, or travel expenses.

“Today, I am going to report on the actions of one physician to explain how industry payments to medical experts can affect medical practice,” Grassley said by way of introducing his remarks. Grassley then reviewed the funding for Melissa DelBello, who had reported to the University of Cincinnati that she had received $100,000 from AstraZeneca in 2003, the year after the study’s publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. She reported another $80,000 in 2004. The payments covered lectures, consulting fees, service on advisory boards and reimbursements for travel-related costs, Grassley said.

DelBello, who also has received NIH grants, also reported $100,000 in outside income between 2005 and 2007. But when Grassley asked AstraZeneca directly, the total value of its payments to DelBello during those three years came to $238,000.

“The fact that a physician can promote a drug to other doctors and receive NIH funding, while hiding a very clear conflict of interest, is disturbing,” Grassley concluded.

A spokesman for the university said it applauds Grassley’s “looking into this very important issue,” adding that the university has cooperated fully. DelBello didn’t respond immediately to requests for comment. The university said she was taking care of patients and wasn’t available.

In a statement, a spokesman for AstraZeneca said partnerships with doctors “can play an important role in advancing learning and the full exchange of information.” The company’s policies require payments to doctors to be “reasonable” and prohibit them from acting as an “inducement” to prescribe or use the company’s products.



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4 responses to “Sen. Grassley Knocks Psychiatrist’s Funding from AstraZeneca

  1. claude moffat

    Long overdue this questioning of the relationship between psychiatrists and drug company funding.
    The DSM should also be challenged as being nothing more than a marketing exercise to enable wider use of drugs for more and more of ordinary human behaviours.
    I would like to see the end of drugs for any behaviour or mental condition—none of them have been cures or therapeutic but have caused lots of unwanted side effects and health issues.
    America is poisoning itself.

  2. It is amazing that more information about these relationships haven’t been available before. Who would believe a study done by a doctor paid for by a drug company wouldn’t be biased. I hope Senator Grassley is successful in flushing out these payments and exposing any fraud that exists.

  3. Bravo Senator! It’s not a matter of “if they exist”. There are thousands of cases and people deserve to hear the truth. That is our right!

  4. Vero Braun

    This is just the TIP of the iceberg guys. It’s admirable how the Senator, being a public person, has stepped forward and spoke. There’s going to be more and more of this all the time. By the way, is anyone surprised about how psychiatry is all about selling lives?? Don’t the Cartels do the same? …and the weapon industry? What makes the Psychs just a bit more dangerous is that they do it covertly unscrupulously, under the guise of a Socratic Pledge. If anyone wants to know how the Psychs have been playing us since it all begun, go to CCHR (Citizens Commission for Human Rights) and try to obtain a copy of the DVD “Psychiatry, an Industry of Death”. It’s all there, clear and in live colors!! (Only for people with strong stomach please).

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